Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Instrumental Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Deborah Schwartz-Kates

Second Committee Member

Glenn Basham

Third Committee Member

Scott Flavin

Fourth Committee Member

Pamela A. McConnell


Numerous influential composers are associated with the program known as "El Sistema" in Venezuela. Despite a richly prolific output from many of these figures, only a few are known in the United States and throughout the world. Among the most influential is Paul Desenne (b. 1959), whose Sonata for Violin Solo is the subject of this doctoral essay. Throughout his youth and musical education, Desenne was exposed to an eclectic variety of musical styles and idioms. This eclecticism influenced his compositional style from the time of his earliest compositions and is also evident in his more recent works. The Sonata for Violin Solo reflects this cultural interweaving that incorporates music from Desenne’s native Venezuela and utilizes elements from indigenous tribes, Spanish settlers, and African peoples that are combined with global musical elements. This essay explores these elements from a theoretical perspective, as well from the practical viewpoint of the performer.


Paul Desenne; Venezuela; Sonata for Violin Solo; El Sistema; Luis Fernandez